Home Affairs: City protest: talks rejected

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Indy Politics
ORGANISERS OF the demonstration which led to the disturbances in the City of London on Friday rebuffed attempts by police to discuss arrangements, Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, told the Commons today.

Mr Straw said "the wholly deplorable outbreak of violence" had been "plainly premeditated". He called the organisers' refusal to discuss the event with police "wholly irresponsible".

Mr Straw refused to give details about what intelligence police had about the organisers but said the demonstration had been discussed during monthly meetings between ministers and London police chiefs.

Ann Widdecombe, the Shadow home secretary, challenged Mr Straw on police numbers, saying the City of London Police had suffered a 7 per cent fall in strength since May 1997.

Mr Straw said that he had met with the force's commissioner, Perry Nove, this morning who had "authorised" him to say that the issue of police numbers was a "red herring".Mr Straw said the commissioner had told him he "had all the police that he needed".